In April, UTC Garden Programs began at the Pearl Street, Memorial, and Ward community gardens, setting the foundation for the coming months. Kids learned about ecosystems, soil, and the planting cycle, and framed the garden community and each person’s role and value in it. UTC Staff, Teen Assistants, VeggieKids and Sprouts worked together to set garden “ground agreement” (guidelines and expectations), prepped beds with compost, and started planting!
Garden Curriculum Overview: each week includes a Sprouts lesson, VeggieKids lesson, and VeggieKids business day activity
This winter UTC program staff collaborated to create a UTC Garden Curriculum specific to our outdoor, neighborhood-based after school programs. Lessons incorporate urban ecology, farming, health, entrepreneurship, and arts, to encourage a new generation of gardeners and community leaders.
UTC Staff use this Garden Curriculum to run seven weekly programs at three garden sites for our Sprouts (ages 5-9) and VeggieKids (ages 10-13). Three Teen Assistants are folded into this system, training with UTC staff, learning to lead activities, and serving as solid role models for younger kids in their neighborhood.
VeggieKids at the Pearl Street Garden work on a lesson planning and mapping their garden beds for the season
On the first program day at the Memorial Garden, Shae, Teen Assistant, knocked on doors inviting new and familiar faces back into the garden. You could feel everyone’s excitement after a long winter to be back outside and for the season to start. After orientation activities, kids spread out into their own space to observe the garden, writing poems/raps about their favorite birds which they shared. Blue birds and robins got shout-outs for their awesome colors, and eagles for a winning (& Philadelphian) spirit!
April (and winter prep) have set a solid groundwork, and gotten everyone excited for the season!
Kids prepare to share bird poems at the Memorial Garden after talking about ecosystems
Jasmine and Memorial Garden VeggieKids experiment making natural dyes
Soil Week’s cover page
VeggieKid’s Soil Lesson page 1. (This lesson combines elements from Boston’s Food Project, ‘French Fries & the Food System,’ and Growing Healthy Habits Curriculum).
VeggieKids Soil Lesson, p. 2
– Karen Bustard, UTC